Culture Club

Gay romance & chilling horror, two queer legends speak, and playing ‘Mean Girls’ at home

FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 – (L-R) JULIA REHWALD as KATE, FRED HECHINGER as SIMON and KIANA MADEIRA as DEENA . Cr: Netflix © 2021

Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.

The Catch: Fear Street Part 1 – 1994

Netflix kicks off a major horror event with this film, the first in a trilogy based on the popular pulp horror novels by RL Stine. Fear Street traces the history of Shadyside, a small, working-class American town with a long history of mass murder. Part 1 picks up in (you guessed it) 1994 when a new rash of killings breaks out. The closet lesbian couple Deena and Sam (Kiana Madeira and Olivia Welch) become the targets of the killer and stumble on dark, supernatural forces that have long cursed the town.

As a film, 1994 channels both nostalgia and traditional horror. Director Leigh Janiak and writer Phil Graziadei pack the movie with plenty of 90s rock hits and pop culture references to evoke the era. Janiak also shoots the movie in the style of the action-slashers of the day, most notably Scream. Madeira and Welch have strong chemistry together, by turns combative and passionate—these two teenagers are in love, but they are still teenagers. All that would make us recommend the film to lovers of all things queer and horror, though 1994 ultimately just teases a much broader horror tale that comes into focus in the sequels, 1978 and 1666. We’ll revisit those films upon their release in the coming weeks. For now, suffice it to say Janiak and Graziadei have reimagined Stine’s pulp chiller as a macabre Lord of the Rings-type saga. Fear Street never reaches that level of epic, though that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Streams on Netflix July 2.

The Must: Legend of the Underground

With pride month giving way to days of American patriotism, Legend of the Underground will remind viewers of that the fight for equality goes on far beyond American borders, and with a sense of urgency. This new documentary film follows the lives of the LGBTQ community in the African nation of Cameroon—a place where homosexuality remains illegal, punishable by imprisonment, torture or death. Directors Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah follow a tight-knit group of friends committed to supporting one another and wrestling with the question of escape to asylum nations. That includes Mikael, a former Nigerian working to aid queer Africans from the US, and James Brown, a flamboyant Instagrammer and activist who must endure death threats and harassment back in Cameroon. As the debate over immigration in the US rages on, Legend of the Underground will make viewers recall that for LGBTQ people—be they from Africa, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East—finding stateside asylum is a matter of life and death. All queer Americans should take heed.

Streams on HBO Max.

The Kiki: Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation

Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland explores the longtime friendship between two queer lions of American writing, Tennesee Williams and Truman Capote. Featuring voice-over by Zachary Quinto and Jim Parsons, Vreeland brings to life the letters and private writings of the two men, as well as their views on gay liberation, literature, and their struggle with southern identity. An Intimate Conversation also reveals the competitive wit between the two—humor went a long way to strengthen their friendship, not to mention help both men wrestle with their alcoholism. It’s a tender portrait of a pair of gay greats, and a must for fans of Tennessee, Truman, or queer history.

Now showing in select cinemas and in online theatres.

The Fetch: Burn Book

Anyone needing a little snark at their 4th of July BBQ this weekend, look no further than Burn Book, the new party game based on the movie Mean Girls. Burn Book, as the name implies, involves throwing a bit of shade among friends. Each player answers a question about every other player, for example, “trademark pickup line” or “first dating website screen name.” Each player then must correctly attribute the snarky answers to every other player, which brings out—shall we say—the frequent burns. It also brings about frequent laughs in our experience, which wins it a strong recommendation. Fans of Mean Girls will revel in the bitchery, while everyone else will enjoy the mixture of creativity, wit, and cheeky jibes.

Available from Big Potato and at Target.

The Glittering: Red Hot presents “Red Hot+ Free”

Speaking of patriotism and fabulousness, a cadre of LGBTQ artists have conspired to release this new, two-disc anthology of dance music suitable for backyard, house, or generalized dance parties. With contributions from Billy Porter, Gloria Gaynor, Ultra Naté, Allie X, Bright Light Bright Light & The Illustrious Blacks, Tituss Burgess & Imani Coppola, Vagabon & Pamcy and more, the album aims to set the floor aflame, and for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from the album sales goes to several queer charity organizations including the Ally Coalition, Trevor Project and SAGE. Our favorite track: Billy Porter’s thumping, leather-lunged belter “Caught in the Middle.” The song infuses Porter’s smooth vocals with a 90s, pesudo-gospel pop beat. It makes us want to throw on some glitter, sunscreen and dance on the beach.

“Caught in the Middle” streams now on YouTube. Full album streams July 2.

The Sip: Patriot Shooter

via YouTube

In commemoration of the American Revolution and the birth of the USA–warts and all–we offer up this week’s sippage, a quick shooter suitable for parties, social events, and game nights. Fruity and pretty to boot, we recommend pairing it with a game of Burn Book and watching the snarky answers pour in. As with all things: a bit of lubrication makes playtime much more fun.

  • 13 ounce vodka
  • 13 ounce blue curacao
  • 13ounce grenadine
Pour grenadine in a shot glass. Slowly add curacao, layering it over the top. Pour vodka on for the third layer. Serve.